PoliticsNation, Monday, April 1, 2013
Read the transcript from the Monday show
April 1, 2013
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Guests: Mark Potok, Tristan Hallman, Lauren Ashburn, Frank Schaffer
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you for
Thanks, Chris, and thanks to you for tuning in. Tonight`s lead, folks, we
have big news, big news. Tonight, we have big news from the Republican
party. It`s a breakthrough. It seems Republicans have finally learned
their lessons of losing the election and now they are ready to change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Things like Obama care are
getting in the way of small business job creation.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We don`t have a
spending problem in Washington.
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We must not repeal
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There`s no gay mafia that has
inflicted the fear of death, political death in the Republican party.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: With your help, we will make Barack
Obama a two-term president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Amazing, right? But April fool`s. Reality is, they haven`t
changed a thing.
Today, the right wing is in full freak out over what a pastor said during
his Easter Sunday sermon that the president and his family attended. It
took place in St. John`s church across the street from the White House.
Reverend Luis Leon said quote "it drives me crazy when the captains of the
religious right are always calling us back, for blacks to be back in the
back of the bus, for women to be back in the kitchen, for immigrants to be
back on the other side of the border.
Yes, this pastor pointing out what is really happening, from voter I.D. to
war on women`s rights to marriage equality and today Republicans showed
they still can`t handle the truth.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: That`s an interesting take that the president inspires it,
inspires racism. It may well be the case. I mean, I`m sure that the
person there, the Episcopalian person Luis Leon, I`m sure he knew that
Obama was coming in advance. You know, he had a security all that. So, he
thought, all right, I`m really going really rev it up now. So, Obama
presence inspires this guy to go all divisive, all racist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The president inspires racism? I don`t think so. Meantime,
over on FOX News, they are shocked, just shocked of what the respected
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s stunning. He`s been a great adviser. I don`t
know. He is been there since 1995. He has been - it sort of the
president`s church, the St. John`s in Washington. And now he comes out
with this attack on the religion right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This isn`t an attack on the religion right. It`s the truth.
And this reverend has been connected to other presidents. He delivered the
opening prayer at George Bush`s second inaugural. The pastor hasn`t
change, though, Republican party changed. It`s gone from the party of
Lincoln to the party of Limbaugh.
And today, the social conservatives are fighting back on social issues.
Rick Santorum says, look, the Republican party is not going to change.
And what about same-sex marriage? He is former chair of the Republican
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t see the Republican party or most Republicans
obviously changing in terms of believing that marriage is between one man
and one woman. I don`t think you`d ever see the Republican party platform
to say we`re in favor of same-sex marriage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Don`t go blaming the pastor for speaking the truth. It`s time
to do something about it. It is about equal rights for everyone,
regardless of gender or race. Sometime, the truth hurts.
Joining me now is Frank Schaeffer, a former evangelical and columnist for
"the Huffington Post" and author of "crazy for God" and Jonathan Capehart,
political columnist for "the Washington Post."
Thank you both for coming on the show.
FRANK SCHAEFFER, COLUMNIST, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Thanks for having me.
SHARPTON: Frank, what do you make of the reaction to the reverend`s
comments about the religious right?
SCHAFFER: Well, look, how far back do you want to go? I mean, you could
go back to Jeremiah Wright and then taking one sentence that he said out of
context to demonize then Senator Obama or you can go back to the fact that
you had evangelicals saying that he was the anti-Christ or you can go to
the racist comments they have made about Michelle Obama.
You know, touch it where you will, there has been a tissue of lies built
around this president that I don`t think any American president has ever
faced. There`s been plenty of presidents that people don`t like. But
let`s cut to the chase. White men my age, cranky white men, I hope I`m not
cranky, but people my age in the Republican party that I used to be part
SHARPTON: You were part of the evangelical moment, in fact.
SCHAFFER: Absolutely. Back in the religious right I tell the story in
"crazy for God" about why I got out, but you very perceptively at the
beginning about the Republican Party having changed.
Look, I knew Jack Kemp. He was a friend of mine who run as a vice
presidential candidate. About 15 years ago when I started speaking against
the religion right and writing about it, he called me and he said, you were
right about this. These people will destroy the Republican Party and they
have and the kind of ugly comments that they make about Obama is one thing.
But they also are in to smear by association.
So, taking the comments of this pastor suddenly becomes his fault. Now
it`s like he made these comments. The fact that he was in church on
Easter, all of a sudden, is used against him in the same way that they say
he is anti-religious in the way that they want to give women contraceptives
before the last election cycle. That was being use.
It isn`t what they are saying. It`s just they keep talking about these
things the whole way down, every week it`s a new deal and they are wanting
themselves into a box because obviously he won the election handedly. The
American people love him and he has terrific programs. So, none inform is
working except to continually marginalize the Republican Party.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, though, Jonathan. Here is a pastor, unlike
some of those that they have attack and distorted as franks in the past,
whose been there at the church, literally right across the street from the
White House since `95 and presidents go. They did the prayer at George
Bush`s president, George Bush the second`s inauguration. So, you are not
talking about someone that was just around this president.
And Reverend Lee, I`m also reportedly said and I`m quoting here, "I hear
all the time the expression the good old days."
Well, the good old days, we forget, have been good for some but they
weren`t good for everybody. Now, what is divisive or racist about that?
That is a fact. I mean, how do you argue we can have different opinions
but we can`t have different facts. That`s a fact.
The good old days does not mean the same thing to blacks and to Latinos and
to women and the gays and lesbians for various different reasons but good
old days is a very limited crowd in this population.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. When you
hear the good old days or want to take our country back, sends a shiver
down my spine because the good old days weren`t exactly good for folks like
me, for African-Americans, for gays and lesbians. It was a very limited
You know, I think what`s happening here is that the religious right and
then, you know, broadening out the far right is so upset and angry at
President Obama, not only that he won the first time and not only that he
won a second time, but just that he`s there. And so, they will look for
anything and anyone in order to smear him, in order to try to de-
legitimatize him because they see it all around them. they are reading the
same newspapers, the same polls that we are. The country is over here but
they are stuck over here and they are desperately trying to hang on to it
and they know they are going to lose their grip.
SHARPTON: Now, Frank, I mentioned that Rush Limbaugh had said to president
inspires racism. Listen to this part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: The President of the United States, you may be right, may have
inspired that in this preacher. And then sat there and listened to it and
by definition approvingly so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So he inspired racism. Now, mind you, the minister preached
about race, gender, any number of things but, of course, Rush is obsessed
with race and the fact the president was sitting there, mean he had to
agree with everything that was being said and in fact he inspired it. I
mean, this is as outrageous as you can get, even for Rush.
SCHAFFER: Well, you know, Rush unintentionally said something true. The
president does inspire racism in people like Rush Limbaugh, Mike Huckabee,
the Tea Party, and all these other losers who have lost the elections, lost
the party, only are in Congress because of gerrymandering and they are
talking to their own people and have lost the hearts and minds of this
So, whether it`s gay rights and marriage equality, whether it`s the role of
women, whether it`s people who can make stupid comments about rape, look at
it all the way down the line. You know, how did the roman catholic bishops
do in pushing the line that Obama hates religion based on the fact that he
thinks women ought to have the ability to get contraceptives on their
They continue to fail but they talk to their own people. So, really, what
they are doing is they are rolling the clock back into the era of
reconstruction and trying, once again, to carve off part of this country as
a separate entity, almost as if the civil war had not been fought. And I
don`t think it`s a coincidence that Rush Limbaugh and all these guys are
really gearing their messages to gin up the fury and anger and hatred of
our first African-American president with their own people. They have
given up on the rest of the country. They were written saying Americans
off. They just try to keep their own subculture angry enough to raise
money, to sell books, to sell advertising on their TV shows and to keep
their own people in gerrymandering district in power and that is it.
SHARPTON: I think Jonathan, you know, I don`t know whether Rush Limbaugh
or any of them, were the person of feelings are, they are racist or not. I
do think that they play a race card and then to a racial atmosphere, as
Frank said, that is, I think, very dangerous and is certainly something -
it is one thing to deal with issues that we have to deal with of challenges
for equal rights and challenging to make things better. But to play any of
these stereotypes and to play into these things that only reinforce the
worst in the court just for, as Frank suggested, for other reasons, I think
it`s something that is no question in my mind irresponsible at the best
CAPEHART: Well certainly, it is irresponsible because it`s playing on
fear. We were talking about a group of people who are fearful. They are
fearful of this president. They are fearful that the court is getting away
from them. They are fearful that they want to take their court back. The
court has been taken away from them. They are fearful of losing everything
that they have and they are sitting in an echo chamber in a cocoon
listening to Rush Limbaugh and FOX News and hearing voices of a lot of
people they agree with and basically isolating themselves from the rest of
the country and realizing that the court has moved beyond them. The
country is in a better place than where these folks think it is and they
are limiting themselves. I think isolated themselves from the American
dream, quite frankly.
SHARPTON: Jonathan Capehart and Frank Schaeffer, thanks for your time
And let me say, that I think that we have to deal with issues of race and
gender equality and homophobia, and when those of us that fight against
unequal treatment, we are called the polarizers (ph), well, why are they
raising this? They are not fighting on behalf of closing gaps. They are
fighting on behalf of stereotyping a president, even saying an Easter
sermon on Sunday morning was inspired by him because the reverend, the
pastor had the audacity to say things that are factually true.
The Republicans are already worrying about Hillary and we have news today
that maybe they should be.
And a chilling murder mystery in Texas. Could it be a white supremacist
revenge crime? We`ll go live to Texas.
What a day at the White House, the Easter Egg Roll was a hit. But the
right winger has tried to bring everyone down. It didn`t work.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Have you joined the POLITICS NATION conversation on Facebook
yet? We hope you will.
Today, lots of people were talking about news of Hillary Clinton`s first
paid speech since leaving office. We asked people what issues they want to
hear her talk about.
Rita says, protecting the poor and middle class.
Dana says, voter I.D. laws.
And Carol joked, I don`t think Hillary needs to say anything with the GOP
imploding on themselves.
We will have more on why Hillary has the Republicans worried coming up
later in the show.
But first, we want to hear what you think about it. Please head over to
Facebook and search POLITICS NATION and "like" us to join the conversation
that goes long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: Anyone fall for an April fool`s joke today? I wasn`t about to
fall for the one headline I saw this morning, quote "Todd Akin, Allen West,
lavished government money on staff after losing re-election." yes, right.
That`s a good one. Those guys are Tea Partiers, always attacking
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN WEST, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: The biggest thing that we have
to do is reduce the size and scope of the federal government.
REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: How serious the excessive spending in the
federal government is?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a spending problem in Washington, D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s essential, we have to fund it and everything
else not essential really has to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Pretty funny, right? But here`s the hypocrisy alert. Akin and
West did give their taxpayer-funded staff huge bonuses after they lost in
November. Akin staff has got a 98 percent increase in salary. West
received an 88 percent increase. Hey, I guess when it comes to the Tea
Party, every day is April fool`s day.
Just today, Christine "I am not a witch" O`Donnell was tweeting her own
April fool`s joke about the president being right about everything. And
you realize, yes, that could actually happen.
We are learning about Sarah Palin slamming political consultants by giving
them hundreds and millions of dollars. And the founder of the Tea Party
caucus, Michele Bachmann, is literally running from reporters. In a way,
they are actually hilarious. But the joke is on them.
Joining me now is Victoria Defrancesco Soto and Joe Madison. Thank you
both for being here.
VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, NBC LATINO CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Rev.
JOE MADISON, HOST, MORNINGS WITH MADISON: Hi. Thank you.
SHARPTON: Victoria, a new report shows Todd Akin and Allen West spending.
Where does this rank in the Tea Party hypocrisy hall of fame?
SOTO: Well, there`s a big dose of hypocrisy there. They are talking out
of ties of their mouth. Well, when we are looking at the Tea Party, one of
their main tenants is about getting government out of your life, about
government not micromanaging your day to day. And at the same time, one of
the other big issues for the Tea Party has been abortion and curtailing
And in my favorite example, Reverend, that I want to show is about governor
Rick Perry here in Texas who keeps advocating that he`s not going to outlaw
texting while driving because he thinks it`s in the best example of
government micromanaging your life, yet, the same time, this from the
governor, in two years ago, mandated that women seeking the choice of
abortion has to have trans-vaginal ultrasound. And in this legislative
session, we have about three pieces of legislation curtailing choice and
looking to get government run for our lives. So, they can`t get it
together. They are talking out both sides of their mouth.
SHARPTON: Now Joe, isn`t it true that when you deal with the hypocrisy
around spending, which is personified now by Akin and West, or as we just
heard from Victoria, when you`ve got the Tea Party saying that this
government is too big and the right saying we shouldn`t be regulating this,
regulating that, but they want to regulate people`s private life and
intimate life, it has hurt the Tea Party.
To give you an example, April 2010, 2010, we had 24 percent of Americans
who said they belonged to the Tea Party. By this January, the number fell
to eight percent. A recent poll found 48 percent holding unfavorable view
of the Tea Party, up from 26 percent in 2010. This hypocrisy and
inconsistency, I think, is coming back to haunt them.
MADISON: There is no question. You`re right on target. You know, you can
fool some people some of the time, but you can`t fool all of the people all
the time. And I think I did better than George Bush did with that quote.
The reality is that they also deflect. What you will find is that they
will accuse those of us who are progressives of doing something when in
fact they do it themselves. I mean, and what you just heard about going on
in Texas, I should point out it`s going on in states across this country
and they are trying to do it on the local level first. That`s what they
are trying to do with state legislatures, state by state by state, but it`s
simply not working.
The only time, Reverend Sharpton, that they seem to object is when it
benefits, again, minorities, women, Hispanics, blacks, that`s -- they are
trying to maintain, as you said in the last segment, a bygone era and it is
not working, their children, and what they you are seeing here, their
children are rejecting them. That`s what is happening. It`s their
children and grandchildren who have grown up in a purelistic (ph) society
and they are rejecting their own ways.
SHARPTON: Victoria, is that still (INAUDIBLE) left in the Tea Party to
cause primary problems, though, for more moderate or mainstream
SOTO: They are losing their foundation. So we see at the national level
they are losing steam. But I also think at the state levels as we are
talking about where in 2012, we saw in that legislatures across the country
Democrats gained 200 states. So, recapturing states that were lost during
the 2010 Tea Party sweep.
We are also seeing individuals, just from polling data, are getting fed up
with the obstructionism that the Tea Party platform brought forward.
Obstructionism works well in the campaign but, it doesn`t work in governing
day to day and Americans are getting tired of the crisis level of
Americans want compromise. They want people to start talking together and
the Tea Party is a party about my way or the highway and the American
public is saying, well, you take the highway. It doesn`t go another way.
SHARPTON: But Joe, is it because they have become purist or is it that
they don`t care what happens to the party?
MADISON: The Tea Party you`re saying?
SHARPTON: The Tea Party.
MADISON: No. I think what happened here was that they first claimed that
they don`t have leadership. Oh, no. We`re just a grassroots people. But
hold on. What happened? You should see what happened here in Washington
where a Tea Party where they paid off one of their people by millions of
dollars and these people on the grassroots level sort of said what`s going
And I would also say something else and I`ll go back to the segment you did
initially Easter Sunday. Reverend, I am absolutely amazed at how someone
can say on Easter Sunday that a minister is inspired by President Obama
standing in the pulpit. I know you, I know a lot of ministers. Usually
they are inspired by God and God is righteous. And God believes in
And that is what, I think, most people understand. We live in a society
where we compete with one another, we marry one another, we support one
another. And bottom line is, are we all in the same boat now? And that`s
really what they can`t handle.
SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to have to leave it there.
Joe, Victoria, thank you.
We will be right back.
SHARPTON: In just a few weeks, all eyes will be on Dallas. No, I`m not
talking about the dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library.
It turns out Hillary Clinton may steal the spotlight from him.
The day before she`s said to deliver her first paid remarks since leaving
the state department and to "the New York Times" report that shows she
already has a transition office. And donors are saying, quote "whenever
she`s ready, we`re ready."
If she`s ready, one thing`s for sure, it could show the world in 2008 that
she knows how to pack a punch.
Joining me now are former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, and Lauren
Ashburn. Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.
ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: Our pleasure.
SHARPTON: Governor, let me start with you. What`s your gut feeling, your
real gut feeling? Is Hillary gearing up for a run?
RENDELL: I don`t think she`s made the decision yet, to be honest, Rev. I
think she wants to chill out for a little bit and decide what she wants to
do with her life and whether that means a brutal presidential campaign.
But I think in the end, she will be persuaded to do it by the, literally,
millions of people that wanted her on, the tens and millions of women who
wanted her to bite the glass ceiling. Democrats who are anxious to
continue progressive government and I think at the end she`ll be persuaded
to do it. I wouldn`t say it`s 100 percent by any means, but I think in the
end she will be persuaded to go.
SHARPTON: Now, Lauren, you know, the signs seem to there that the governor
is right. "The Times" reported in the story over the weekend, her closest
political allies are for views about why she`s more likely to run than not.
That`s a quote from the article.
A former senior adviser to her 2008 campaign says, I think she wants very
much to see a woman president in her lifetime. If you look at the
landscape right now, there`s only one person who has a real shot at that.
So, from a political environment point of view, those around her, would
your hunch be she goes?
LAUREN ASHBURN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, DAILY-DOWNLOAD.COM: My hunch is pretty
likely that she goes. And for one reason. The quote that you last said.
She -- it is very important to her that there is a leader, a woman leader
in that office. And I think that if it`s not her, we will not see it in
her lifetime and we won`t see it in my lifetime. So for that reason alone
I would say chances are pretty good.
But you do have to remember, it was tough going. And in 2008 that wasn`t a
very well managed campaign. She was beaten up and I think she is really
trying at this point to keep that -- the pressure off for as long as she
possibly can because once she says she`s running, well, then the harpoons
will come out.
SHARPTON: Well, I don`t know if they are going to wait that long. I mean,
when you look at the fact, governor, look that poll. She is trouncing on
the competition even on their home turf. Florida mud turf, she beats Jeb
Bush, 51 to 40. It`s the same thing against Marco Rubio. She beats him by
11 as well. And I think that --
RENDELL: And that`s in Florida.
SHARPTON: That`s in Florida.
So there`s no wonder that when she suffered a concussion before testimony
in Benghazi, the right wing went bananas after. I mean, they were
merciless. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I guess she passed out somewhere. Is she
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER AMBASSADOR: When you don`t want to go to a meeting or
conference or an event, you have a diplomatic illness.
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO HOST: We both have great respect for secretary
Clinton. And you are a Roman Catholic as am I. So, we are now calling
this the immaculate concussion, because if a tree falls in a forest, does
it really fall if nobody heard her fall? Did she really have a concussion?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could she get a concussion when she`s been ducking
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Immaculate concussion. But this is even before she announces or
even has an exploratory committee that harpoons, governor?
RENDELL: Sure. And I think Lauren is right. The extent (INAUDIBLE) and
so are you, Rev. buy, she can take it. I mean, remember, she -- after the
concussion, she did testify on Benghazi and I dare say that she put a lot
of those Republican men in their place, big time.
Hillary can give and she`s a strong leader and she believes in herself.
And when the time comes, if she decides to run, she can take it. You can
bet on that. She can give it out also.
SHARPTON: Lauren, if she runs, would this be a dirty campaign, possibly
the dirtiest in history?
ASHBURN: Aren`t all campaigns dirty? I don`t know that I just said that.
SHARPTON: You did and they are.
ASHBURN: They are, right. So, I think, you know, that of course it`s
going to be dirty. But back to Benghazi, that was absolutely outrageous.
I wrote a piece about it in "the Daily Beast" and the comments were all
over the map, even from some Republicans saying they went over the top on
that one and they took a beating. Every single person, by the time she had
a real injury, a brain injury, took it back and felt bad about it.
So -- But that`s different. I mean, now, she`s out of the public office,
right, out of public life. And once she gets back in and as soon as she
says I`m running, boy, it`s going to be tough.
But you`re right, Ed, she can take it. Look. This is a woman who has
lived through being First Lady, first governor`s wife, Senate, Secretary of
State, and she has passed with flying colors in all of it.
SHARPTON: Now, governor, Joe Biden is nothing to ignore. He has been a
major power broker of the administration, looking at the long list of
things that he`s broken, gun control, on budget negotiations, on gay
marriage, on true draw downs on Iraq and Afghanistan and on and on. What
can he do in terms of if he decides to run, doesn`t he weigh in very heavy,
doesn`t Mrs. Clinton have to be concerned about Joe Biden?
RENDELL: Well, sure. But first of all, Rev., let`s all agree that Joe
Biden has been an impactful and terrific vice president. Still, his public
image and all is that has got a little bit recently is driven by some of
the gaffes and some of the things he says. But I think he`s been a
terrific vice president and I think he would be a good president, I really
The problem is that Joe Biden`s people, the people who would raise the
money for Joe Biden, the elected officials who would support Joe Biden are
basically also in Hillary Clinton`s camp. And as Hillary learned in 2008,
you can`t stand in the way of history. And if Hillary Clinton gets out
there and has a chance to become the first woman president, I think it`s
going to be very difficult. And it think most of Joe`s strong backers and
people who supported in every race he has ran in, will probably tell him,
look, Joe, this is a time for Hillary Clinton, a woman president, and I`ve
got to be with her. And then it becomes very difficult to run that race.
But Joe Biden should be doing exactly what he is doing now. Because I
still believe there`s a chance that Hillary says no. So Joe should be
preparing. But in the end --
SHARPTON: But Lauren, that compelling argument of a woman president; that
might just be the thing that tips Hillary Clinton over the line and say I`m
going for it?
ASHBURN: Look at all of the things that she has done at the state
department, as a Senator, as a First Lady to champion women`s rights. That
is a very, very important issue for her. And don`t you think that at the
end of her life, at the end of her days if she looked back and had just a
tiny bit of regret and remorse for not running and not furthering women`s
causes that she would regret it? I think it`s a tipping point.
SHARPTON: Well, Rendell, governor, tell me, when does she have to decide?
RENDELL: I think as a practical matter she`s got to he decide by the early
spring of next year. I don`t think she will let it go any longer than
that. She has got to give the word to people to begin the historic raising
money to elected officials that she is in so that they don`t` make alliance
elsewhere. And I think if she doesn`t, Rev, if Joe Biden hears from people
what I think he`s likely to hear, I think there`s an actual chance that she
could wind up without a contest in the Democratic - for the Democratic
SHARPTON: Well, I`m going to have to leave it there. Governor, thanks.
I`ve been watching you with those voting shenanigans in Pennsylvania.
SHARPTON: But I`m going to have to leave it there.
Lauren, I can tell you, it`s very hard running for president and you get
disappointed and in 2004 when I ran, I called governor Rendell for his
endorsement and he put me on hold. He picked me up ten years later on
ASHBURN: See. But you don`t forget but you still play with them.
SHARPTON: Thank you both for your time.
RENDELL: He`s forgiven me, Lauren.
SHARPTON: Ahead, a second Texas prosecutor found murdered. A chilling
murder mystery. It is a white supremacist group that is responsible? We
are live in Texas.
And the White House`s Egg Roll starring the Kid President. Why the
grownups in Washington should take some notes.
SHARPTON: We need to talk about a scandal rocking the Atlanta public
school system. Thirty five teachers, administrators and principals have
been indicted for racketeering in a cheating scandal. A four-year
investigation says they conspired to cheat on mandated standardized tests,
erasing wrong answers and putting in correct answers. It proves scores and
Former Atlanta school superintendent Beverly Hall, it was said, led the
scheme. She earned $500,000 in performance bonuses.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL HOWARD, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, FULTON COUNTY: There is a single-minded
purpose and that purpose is to cheat, to manipulate the grades.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now, this is despicable, if proven true, and it speaks to a
bigger problem with our public schools. We cannot rely on standardized
test scores for benchmarks. The time is now for real education reform. We
will keep on this story.
SHARPTON: We`re back with a chilling murder mystery in Texas. For the
second time in two months, a Texas prosecutor has been shot to death. Mike
McLelland at the Kaufman County district attorney, and his wife, were both
found murdered in their house in Dallas over the weekend.
One official says it appears the double murder was a targeted attack. The
murders come eight weeks after McLelland`s top prosecutor was shot dead
steps away from the county courthouse. The case took on more urgency when
reports that investigators maybe looking into a possible link with a white
supremacist group. At his deputy was murdered, McLelland was defied vowing
to bring the killer and or killers to justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE MCLELLAND, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I hope the people that did this are
watching because we`re very confident that we are going to find you, we are
going to pull you out of whatever hole you`re in, we`re going to bring you
back and let the people of Kaufman County prosecute you to the fullest
extent of the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And now he`s dead. What`s going on in Texas and who is
Joining me now live from Kaufman County courthouse in Texas is Tristan
Hallman, staff writer at "the Dallas Morning News" and Mark Potok, senior
fellow at Southern Poverty Law Center and editor in chief of Hate Watch
Thank you both for being here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Tristan, give us the latest on the investigation.
TRISTAN HALLMAN, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: I`m sorry. I didn`t hear that.
SHARPTON: I said, give us the latest on this investigation. What can you
tell us is going on with the investigation at this point?
HALLMAN: Sure. The Kaufman County authorities and state and federal
authorities who are investigating this have given very few details about
what happened. We know that over the weekend at about 6:45 on Saturday the
family friends found the McClelland`s deceased in their home and they
called police. Other than that, we have very few details about what
happened. We have heard from sources that there are about 14 shell casings
found but authorities are being tight-lipped about what happened.
SHARPTON: Now, there`s a link here, a possible link to a white supremacist
group. Why is that? I know, there is nothing firm or do you have details
of why they are even looking that way?
HALLMAN: Sure. Part is that they believe that they are investigating the
Aryan brotherhood in connection with Mark Hasse`s death, the Kaufman County
prosecutor who shot outside this courthouse about eight weeks ago. And
they believe that these two are connected. They believe that because of
the cases that they prosecuted against members of the Aryan brotherhood
that they are connected to this and they are possibly a revenge killings.
SHARPTON: What is the mood in the town right now?
HALLMAN: Well, the town is very, you know -- the killing actually happened
about 20 minutes away in (INAUDIBLE). I think the town is nervous. They
are on edge. But they also believe that this was a targeted killing so,
while they are shocked, they are not too terrified of what`s going on out
SHARPTON: Now, can you tell me, Mark, about you track a lot of these hate
groups probably more than anyone in Texas. Give us, and again, we have a
confirmed this is a hate group. But the fact that is a certainly something
that is being look into, give us the sense of what these hate groups are
like and how they operate in Texas.
MARK POTOK, SENIOR FELLOW, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: Well, we are
really talking about one specific group, the Aryan brotherhood of Texas
which has come to be known as arguably the most violent white supremacist
prison gang in the country at this point. Its members have been
responsible for more than 100 murders and a minimum of ten kidnappings
since the group has formed in the early 1980s in the Texas prison system.
You know, the connection to these groups is that there was a major
racketeering indictment brought against some 34 members of the group in
November of last year. It was only one month later that the Texas
department of public safety issued its memo or letters to prosecutors
warning them that the Aryan brotherhood was thinking about major
retaliation and it was a month after that that Mark Hasse, of course, was
murdered, really executed, on his way to work.
SHARPTON: Now I have a copy of that where a month after the crackdown,
where all of the people that led this group were arrested that the Aryan
brotherhood, Texas law enforcement officials were warned about retaliation
quote "high ranking members, are involved in issuing orders to inflict mass
casualties or death to law enforcement officials who were involved in cases
where Aryan brotherhood of Texas are facing life sentences of the death
So, this is why clearly, we are now a second prosecutor in Kaufman County
that were involved in these cases. This is why it`s clearly within the
scope of the investigation to look into this group and the retaliation that
was already warned.
POTOK: Absolutely. And it seems to me the thing worth pointing out is
that if the Aryan brotherhood of Texas really is behind these killings, it
is an absolutely astounding audacious and brazen thing to do. It seems
that if they be tease and shown really to it, then behind these two
murders, these assassinations, that the weight of the law will come down
crashing on these people in a way that we can hardly imagine.
SHARPTON: But Mark, in an interview last year with the Southern Poverty
Law Center, a former member of the leading white supremacist group said,
and I`m quoting, "murder is a way to make a social statement." I mean, if
you`re dealing with people that feel that murder is a way to make a social
statement, then clearly they are not valuing life like or respect for the
law or law enforcement officials like you and I may.
POTOK: Well, that`s certainly true. But that nevertheless, normally the
kind of people who get killed are members of the gang who are being
disciplined, who have thought to have cooperated with law enforcement. As
a matter of fact, one man who was thought to have cooperated with law
enforcement, they sent out a hit squad, had him murdered. And the killers
were told to bring back the severed finger of the victim as a trophy for
So, you know, this is a group that is incredibly vicious but they have not
or have not, in the past, targeted prosecutors because it will provoke
such a reaction that the group is in danger of being completely destroyed
as a result.
SHARPTON: Well, I mean, it`s a very troubling case. Two prosecutors
killed in the same county this year. We are going to be watching this one.
Mark Potok and Tristan Hallman, thank you both for your time tonight.
POTOK: Thank, Rev.
HALLMAN: Thank you.
SHARPTON: We will be right back.
SHARPTON: Finally tonight, 135-year tradition, today was the annual White
House Easter Egg Roll. More than 30,000 people joined the Obama family on
the White House South Lawn. The special guests were the so-called Kid
President, whose online video preaching that we all work together, caught
the real president`s eye. Both presidents judged the Easter egg rolls on
the South Lawn.
And look at this. The president comforted a 5-year-old boy who looked like
he wasn`t so happy with the results of his race. The theme of the day, be
healthy, be active, be you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: We want you to run
around, we want you to go over and see the White House garden, we want you
to learn about making tasty, healthy food. We are going to come down and
do some Easter egg roll. We are going to read some stories. But overall,
we want you guys to have a good time and keep moving and be healthy. And
kids, eat your vegetables, OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A great time was had by all, but the right wingers tried to ruin
it. A FOX News headline is, the First Lady turning the White House Egg
Roll into a fat camp? To quote "inflict exercise and healthy meal plans on
kids who just want to celebrate the season."
This is about a good time, not inflicting exercise and healthy eating on
anyone. The Easter egg hunt is a tradition that started in 1878. It`s
about kids enjoying themselves at the White House and celebrating the
arrival of spring. Politics has put aside. And what`s the problem with
healthy living? Childhood obesity is a real problem in this country. It`s
soared from 5.5 in 1980 to 17 percent today.
I think Republicans should take a tip from the Kid President. Stop the
nonsense. Stop the senseless attacks. It`s time to work together and
maybe even had a little fun. You find any and everything wrong no matter
what the president does, no matter what the First Lady says. Maybe it`s
not them. Maybe it`s you. I came outside today. I was told, it is
sunshine. I put on my glasses and I didn`t see the sunshine. Somebody
told me I should clean my glasses. It wasn`t the sun that was missing. I
was looking at it wrong.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton.
"HARDBALL" starts right now.
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